Called “one of the most fiercely independent and original groups of the Nineties”, Stereolab were one of the first bands to be termed “post-rock”. Their primary musical influence was 1970s krautrock, which they combined with lounge, 1960s pop, and experimental pop music. Stereolab’s music combines a droning rock sound with lounge instrumentals, overlaid with sing-song female vocals and pop melodies. Their records are heavily influenced by the motorik technique of 1970s krautrock groups. The band make use of vintage analog electronic instruments such as the Farfisa and Vox organs, and the Moog synthesizer. Funk, jazz, and Brazilian music were inspirations, and the sounds of minimalist composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich… A unique and incomparable style! »> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereolab
"Black Codes (From the Underground)" - Black Codes (From the Underground) - Wynton Marsalis
Black Codes (from the Underground) - Wynton Marsalis (1985)
Black Codes (From the Underground) is a 1985 post-bop jazz album by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. It is widely considered to be one of Marsalis’ best albums.There is an extra track on this disc not listed on the cover. Without overtly meaning to, Wynton and Co. have created a superb tribute to the classic Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-1960s (the edition featuring Wayne Shorter’s sax, Herbie Hancock’s piano, Ron Carter’s bass and the late Tony Williams’ drums) without coming off as a pale imitation. The interplay of Wynton’s group is so tight and empathetic it’s uncanny. No one over-plays, and the various instrumental elements combine perfectly into a seamless whole. The tunes are memorable and have a strong sense of dynamics. Modern small-group jazz (rooted in the ’60s traditions a la Miles and Wayne) at its very best. Recorded at RCA Studio A, New York, New York in January 1985. Includes liner notes by Stanley Crouch. Personnel includes: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet); Branford Marsalis (tenor saxophone); Kenny Kirkland (piano); Ron Carter, Charnett Moffett (bass); Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums).
Prospective 21e Siecle was established by Philips in 1967 to release Musique Concrète, electro-acoustic and electronic music. The imprint was short-lived with many releases only produced in limited numbers. The label’s distinctive covers were printed using metallic inks. The suggestive abstraction of each design hints at an elemental, mysterious future that is a perfect foil for the music it presages. The designer is uncredited and remains to date unknown. Read »> http://www.hardformat.org/collections/prospective-21e-siecle/
The Marciac Suite - Wynton Marsalis Septet
A sonic photo album in 13 movements, all 12 keys, and four time signatures, this 76 minute suite is Wynton’s kaleidoscopic tribute to the beautiful medieval town of Marciac, France, and its August jazz festival in which he participates every year. Written for his septet, the suite captures the varied, bracing flavors of Marciac’s paté (including the duck that got away), its armagnac, its striking sunflower fields and, most of all, the hospitality and soulfulness of its people.
"No. 36: NONcerto for Horn: Valentine Tregashian dreams ? of the Swiss Girl" - Richard Ayres: NONcertos and others - Wim Timmermans, horn / ASKO Ensemble / Roland Kluttig, conductor
There is something very Monty Pythonesque about the music of British composer Richard Ayres (born in 1965) in the outrageous level of its surreal non sequiturism; if Messrs. Gilliam, Idle, Cleese, et al., had been composers, this might well be what their music would have sounded like. The three manically disjunct works recorded here, written between 1997 and 2006, are characterized by a strict avoidance of traditional principles of logic or coherent musical development, except in the cases where those principles are employed only to be slyly subverted (for example, in the first movement of the NONcerto for horn, in which the soloist is required to run back and forth across the stage, mounting ramps that are supposed to simulate the Alps, to create the effect of horn calls echoing between distant peaks). Ayres cites Schnittke and Janácek as inspirations, and it’s possible to hear the influence of Schnittke’s polystylism, but executed with an acute sense of the ridiculous not usually associated with the Russian composer. It’s also easy to detect the sound of Janácek’s quirky late Romanticism. An associate once angrily denounced Ayres for writing “rhapsodic” music as if that were an inherently bad thing, but Ayres’ music, in fact, in spite of being fragmented by absurd disjunctions, is full of rhapsodically beautiful moments in the conventional sense of sweeping Romantic lyricism. A question that his music reportedly frequently elicits is, “But is it supposed to be taken seriously?” The answer is the listener’s court; it’s not “normal” for the silly and the beautiful to be thrown together with such apparently inchoate abandon, but ultimately, for listeners who can let go of conventional expectations, Ayres’ music can be exhilarating, even thrilling, in its promiscuous embrace of wild hilarity and ravishing lyricism. Roland Kluttig leads three excellent ensembles — Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, ASKO Ensemble, and musikFabrik — in exuberant, off-the-wall performances. Strongly recommended for fans of new music that offers Something Completely Different. See also
Recorded at the Total Music Meeting in 1995, this double CD represents Butch Morris’ attempt to conduct “Berlin Skyscraper,” a specially assembled group of musicians — 17 in all — in an eight movement performance all designed by Morris’ idea of “conduction.” Conduction is the free improvisation of a group of musicians who are all directed not by any notated, graphical or otherwise, score or idea, but from the chair of the conductor who conducts the improvisation. It’s pissed off a lot of musicians, especially well known ones. But Morris has a plan and this recording bears out how well it works. Most of the players on this date come from the classical world. They have a strength in that they are used to following g the instructions from a conductor, but they have a weakness when it comes to being able to improvise freely or act accordingly without a score. The rest are jazz musicians who are used to both improvising and charts but not conductors. What Morris accomplishes is a work so vast in its tonal spaces and colors, the recording can barely contain it. Opening with two basic movements, he guides his orchestra toward a familiarity with one another and the concepts of expansion. He is not interested in their individual improvisational ideas — though he in is their social conventions, histories, experience, etc — because he’s looking for what they don’t bring to the bandstand. In the first two movements, Morris finds unifying timbres and modes of commonality, exercises them, and then, in “Dark Secret,” undoes them all, tearing down one preconceived musical notion after the next in order to move 17 individuals who have musical centers toward one higher musical center to which they all contribute and become part of. The temptation to think of all this as theory that results in racket is overwhelming at times, but to actually hear the process being accomplished as string players touch upon microtonal territories they thought only horns were capable of reaching, and percussionists finding overtones in rim shots done by hand, is interesting. The players suggest musical ideas, Morris either takes them and develops them by working them into the piece or ignores them and insists upon a total commitment to the process at hand. The result is a shimmering, glistening whole full of open spaces, radical tonal spheres, and textural sonances that musical notation requiring mode or interval could never design. In Morris’ egoless conduction, new tone poems and symphonies are being structurally erected as multilingual towers of expression and collective architecture where tonality is the bendable surface from which the foundation emerges. There are no records like Butch Morris’ conduction sides, nor could there be, though he wishes there were. In conduction — and perhaps only there — is it possible to achieve the feat of a musical community dissolving its separate identities in order to communicate in freedom as an individual unit of creative expression.
"Inner City Blues" - Gil Scott-Heron
Reflections - Gil Scott-Heron (1981)
Although a major across-the-board hit always eluded the poet, singer, and activist Gil Scott-Heron, this album does contains one of his best-known songs. “B-Movie,” an extended attack on Ronald “Ray-gun,” unleashes 12 minutes of vitriol about the then recently elected president. Beginning with the declaration “Mandate, my ass,” it’s a laundry list of fears about Reagan, fantasizing that his election meant “we’re all actors” in some surreal film. Delivered over a taut funk groove, parts of it are still funny. Elsewhere, Scott-Heron takes an early stab at endorsing firearm control on “Gun”; slows things down for “Morning Thoughts”; and explores reggae’s rhythms and revolutionary power on “Storm Music,” a direction he’d pursue more fully on his next album, Moving Target. The disc also includes a pair of covers that offer varying degrees of success: Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” is a natural for Scott-Heron’s warm baritone and a bright soul-jazz arrangement from the Midnight Band, but the version of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” while it swings convincingly, has a lengthy spoken-word riff that fails to embellish on the pain implicit in the original. Overall, Reflections doesn’t capture Scott-Heron at the peak of his game, though anyone who enjoyed the other works from his Arista period certainly won’t be disappointed. ~ Dan LeRoy Personnel: Gil Scott-Heron (vocals, electric piano); Kenny Lazarus (guitar); Vernon James (flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Glenn Turner (harmonica, electric piano, Clavinet, organ, string synthesizer); Kenny Sheffield (trumpet, flugelhorn); Kenny Powell (drums); Larry Macdonald (timbales, percussion).